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2024 Montana Primary elections

Escaped elephant caught after low-speed chase on busy Butte street

An elephant roams the streets of Butte, MT after briefly escaping its circus handlers, Tuesday, April 16
An elephant roams the streets of Butte, MT after briefly escaping its circus handlers, Tuesday, April 16, 2023.

A surreal sight Tuesday afternoon in Butte, when a circus elephant briefly escaped onto a busy street in the middle of town.

Social media videos began circulating shortly after noon Tuesday, showing the elusive pachyderm meandering around Harrison Avenue as traffic stopped to observe.

Video contains language some may find offensive.

Armando Loyal is the head elephant handler for the Jordan World Circus, which performed Monday and Tuesday at the Butte Civic Center. He didn’t want to be recorded, but told MTPR the elephant was getting washed in the venue’s parking lot when a passing truck backfired.

Loyal said the noise startled the elephant, who bolted from her handlers. He said handlers were able to catch her as she stopped to munch on some fresh grass and she was loaded onto a circus truck within 10 minutes of making her break.

John joined the Montana Public Radio team in August 2022. Born and raised in Helena, he graduated from the University of Montana’s School of Media Arts and created the Montana history podcast Land Grab. John can be contacted at john.hooks@umt.edu
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